Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Richard Thompson unveils details of '13 Rivers'

New West
Richard Thompson's next album 13 Rivers is scheduled for Sept. 14 via New West Records.

It is his first self-produced album in over a decade and was recorded analog in 10 days.

In a prepared statement, he says each song "is like a river...some flow faster than others. Some follow a slow and winding current. They all culminate on this one body of work. The songs are a surprise in a good way. They came to me as a surprise in a dark time. They reflected my emotions in an oblique manner that I’ll never truly understand. It’s as if they’d been channeled from somewhere else. You find deeper meaning in the best records as time goes on. The reward comes later.

“I don’t know how the creative process works. I suppose it is some kind of bizarre parallel existence to my own life. I often look at a finished song and wonder what the hell is going on inside me. We sequenced the weird stuff at the front of the record, and the tracks to grind your soul into submission at the back.”

Hear “The Storm Won’t Come” and “Bones of Gilead” HERE. 13 Rivers will be available across digital platforms, CD, vinyl, as well as limited edition split cream & black colored vinyl available at Independent Retailers. Richard Thompson’s 13 Rivers is available for pre-order now via NEW WEST RECORDS.

Some history: Having co-founded the groundbreaking group Fairport Convention as a teenager in the 60s, Thompson and his bandmates helped invent a distinctive strain of British Folk Rock. He left the group by the age of 21 which was followed by a critically acclaimed, decade long musical partnership with his then-wife Linda, to over 30 years as a highly successful solo artist.

In 2011, Thompson received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) personally bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. He has received lifetime achievement awards for songwriting from Britain’s BBC Awards, the Americana Music Association, and was awarded the prestigious Ivor Novello Award.

“1952 Vincent Black Lightning” was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Greatest Songs Since 1923. A wide range of musicians have recorded Thompson’s songs including Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, Del McCoury, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Jones, David Byrne, Don Henley, Los Lobos, and many more.

His massive body of work includes many Grammy nominated albums as well as numerous soundtracks, including Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man.

Track List:

1. The Storm Won’t Come
2. The Rattle Within
3. Her Love Was Meant For Me
4. Bones Of Gilead
5. The Dog In You
6. Trying
7. Do All These Tears Belong To You?
8. My Rock, My Rope
9. You Can’t Reach Me
10. O Cinderella
11. No Matter
12. Pride
13. Shaking The Gates

Years & Years North American tour dates

British band Years & Years return to North America in October for a headlining tour in support of their full-length album and short film, ‘Palo Santo.’ For a full list of tour dates, see below. Tickets pre-sales have started; local and general on-sale starts July 20 at 10AM local time. For more information go to:

Last month, Years & Years brought their live show to New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles for three small scale, sold-out live shows to celebrate the release of ‘Palo Santo.’ The release entered the worldwide iTunes album charts at #1 and the UK album charts at #3 and continues to make waves stateside as the current single “If You’re Over Me” gains traction on radio on both sides of the Atlantic and saw its late night television debut on NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers last month [Watch HERE].

Tour Dates:

10/05 – Phoenix Concert Theatre – Toronto, ON
10/06 – Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA
10/08 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY
10/10 – The Fillmore – Philadelphia, PA
10/11 – Lincoln Theatre – Washington, DC
10/12 – Paradise– Boston, MA
10/13 – MeTulus – Montreal, QB
10/15 – Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
10/16 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
10/17 – The Truman -– Kansas City, MO
10/19 – Canton Hall -– Dallas, TX
10/20 – Emo's – Austin, TX
10/22 – Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO
10/23 – Union Event Center – Salt Lake City, UT
10/25 – The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA
10/26 – Warfield Theatre – San Francisco, CA
10/28 -– Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR
10/29 – Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC
10/30 – The Showbox – Seattle, WA

Kip Moore plots fall tour

Kip Moore returns to the road this fall for U.S. headlining dates, which start in September. Tickets for the tour will go on sale July 20 at

“Anyone who knows me, knows that the live show means everything to us,” said Moore. “It’s where we get to thank our die-hard fans that show up to every show year after year, and it’s also where we get to lay all of our cards out on the table and win over new fans. I’m excited to get out to some cities we haven’t played a full show at in a while and with all the awesome acts we have joining us, it’s going to be a hell of a fall!”

Moore's current single “Last Shot” is the second taken from his latest album Slowheart and follows his fourth #1 hit, “More Girls Like You.” The country performer's platinum debut album Up All Night spawned three #1 singles, including the gold-certified "Beer Money," platinum-certified "Hey Pretty Girl," and the 2x-platinum "Somethin' 'Bout A Truck.

Tour Dates:

9/20/2018 Silver Springs, MD The Fillmore Silver Spring** 
9/21/2018 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom**
9/22/2018 Huntington, NY The Paramount****
9/28/2018 Birmingham, AL Avondale Brewing Co.***
10/4/2018 Fargo, ND Scheels Arena*
10/5/2018 Sioux Falls, SD The District*
10/6/2018 Madison, WI The Sylvee*
10/18/2018 Raleigh, NC The Ritz*
10/20/2018 Chattanooga, TN The Signal*
10/25/2018 Denver, CO The Fillmore Auditorium*
10/26/2018 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex*
10/27/2018 Reno, NV Grand Theatre @ The Grand Sierra Resort*
10/30/2018 Paso Robles, CA Vina Robles Amphitheater*
11/1/2018 Anaheim, CA House of Blues*
11/2/2018 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern*
11/3/2018 San Diego, CA House of Blues*
11/5/2018 San Francisco, CA The Regency*
11/8/2018 Spokane, WA Fox Theater*
11/9/2018 Eugene, OR Hult Center for Performing Arts*
11/10/2018 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre*
11/17/2018 Nashville, TN War Memorial Auditorium*

*openers Jordan Davis, Jillian Jacqueline
**The Wild Feathers, Caroline Jones
***The Wild Feathers, Jillian Jacqueline
****Dates with The Wild Feathers 

Toad the Wet Sprocket update

Toad the Wet Sprocket will have remastered vinyl reissues of their albums fear and Dulcinea on their U.S. summer tour and online beginning July 18.

“For years, fans have been asking us to reissue our fearand Dulcinea albums on vinyl. Now, in cooperation with Sony Music, these albums are finally getting the vinyl treatment they deserve,” says bassist Dean Dinning.

“I personally supervised the remastering and vinyl cutting with Eric Boulanger and his crew at Bakery mastering in Culver City, CA. The vinyl masters have been cut on the lathe at half speed for maximum resolution, and then they are pressed on 180 gram vinyl.”

He further explains, “For fans wanting the ultimate Toad listening experience, these new vinyl editions definitely deliver. We are thankful to have our fans still with us from the time these albums were both initially released to now, and I hope you enjoy these albums as much as I did remastering them.”

Toad will continue their tour into fall with newly added dates to support their latest releases, New Constellation (2013) and The Architect of Ruin EP (2015) and will be performing fan favorites “Walk on the Ocean,” “All I Want,” “I Will Not Take These Things for Granted” featured on the multi-platinum break-through album Fear and “Fall Down” and “Something’s Always Wrong” from the follow-up platinum album Dulcinea. These tracks are included on All You Want (2011), which is available at shows and online.

Fans can secure VIP Meet & Greet packages with a ticket purchase which will include: one pre-show meet & greet with the band, one photograph with the band, one live acoustic song performance, one exclusive VIP tour laminate, one autographed tour poster and one premium reserved seat ticket (or early access to seating if a general admission show, where available).

Toad the Wet Sprocket also has new music coming this year and will be featured in two upcoming compilation projects. The track “One of These Days” will be included in the upcoming animated motion picture Animal Crackers, and “Nothing Can Stop My Love” is on the Roger Miller Tribute Album titled King of the Road out Aug. 31st alongside other notable artists such as Dolly Parton, Eric Church, Willie Nelson and Kacey Musgraves.

Tour Dates:

7/18-19 San Diego, CA @ Belly Up
7/20 Ojai, CA @ Libbey Bowl
7/21 SF, CA @ Great American Music Hall
7/24 Sacramento, CA @ Crest Theatre
7/26 Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall
7/27 Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre
7/28 Spokane, WA @ The Bing Crosby Theatre
7/29 Billings, MT @ The Pub Station
7/31 SLC, UT @ Red Butte Garden
8/2 Fort Collins, CO @ Washington's
8/3 Arvada, CO @ Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
8/4 Kansas City, MO @ The Truman
8/5 Oklahoma City, OK @ The Jones Assembly
8/8 New York, NY @ Sony Hall
8/9-10 Alexandria, VA @ The Birchmere
8/11 Boston, MA @ The Wilbur Theatre
8/12 Derry, NH @ Tupelo Music Hall
8/14 Bethel, NY @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
8/16 Kent, OH @ Kent Stages
8/17 Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theater
8/18 Chicago, IL @ Park West
8/19 Grand Rapids, MI @ Meijer Gardens
9/20 Charlotte, NC @ McGlohon Theater
9/22 Augusta, GA @ Miller Theater
9/23 Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
9/24 Nashville, TN @ CMA Theatre
9/25 Durham, NC @ Carolina Theatre
9/27 Phoenixville, PA @ The Colonial Theatre
9/28 Richmond, VA @ The National
9/29 Virginia Beach, VA @ Neptune Festival
9/30 Frederick, MD @ Weinberg Center for the Arts

Fastball's 'All the Pain Money Can Buy' to get deluxe reissue in November

I'm very interesting in hearing this new reissue since I interviewed and reviewed the band in concert for the album. Read more from the press release below...

When the first single from Fastball's second record was released a few months before the album dropped, it was apparent there would be no sophomore slump. “The Way” exploded at radio, eventually going Gold, and propelling All the Pain Money Can Buy to Gold status in only three months and Platinum another three months later. The release also received two Grammy® nominations, and the band won four Austin Chronicle awards for the album.

Produced by the band with Julian Raymond (Cheap Trick, Sugarland, LP), All the Pain Money Can Buy also delivered the second single, “Fire Escape,” as well as the Top 20 single “Out of My Head” (whose chorus was recently reinterpreted in “Bad Things” by Machine Gun Kelly & Camilla Cabello) while also including a track with Poe(whose Hello was certified Gold in 1996).

This 20th anniversary edition contains the original 13 songs, plus nine bonus tracks including rare B-sides, compilation tracks, and four previously unissued demos. To make this anniversary even more special, the album makes its vinyl debut as a double LP containing all of the bonus material Street date is Nov. 9 via Omnivore Recordings.

With expanded packaging and an essay from Scott Schinder including a new interview with the band, All the Pain Money Can Buy returns stronger than ever. The way is finally clear.

As Schinder notes, “It’s not surprising that All the Pain Money Can Buy would catch on with the public. The album’s 13 original songs embodied an irresistible mix of catchy song craft, melodic sophistication and emotional depth, and the band arranged and performed them with an unmistakable sense of urgency that underlined the opportunity that the project represented.”

According to Fastball’s Tony Scalzo, “Coming to A&M Studios to record was a big deal for us. Hit records had come out of there for years and years, and you could really feel that when you walked inside. Time and a sizable budget gave us access to all these great session musicians and we were able to go nuts with our ideas. With Julian Raymond in the driver's seat, we were encouraged to take full advantage of the sonic resources available to us at A&M. When we finished we knew we had a great record but didn’t expect the success it would bring us."

Fastball’s hometown Austin album release show will take place on Nov. 9 at Austin’sACL Live!.

Track Listing:

1. The Way
2. Fire Escape
3. Better Than It Was
4. Which Way To The Top?
5. Sooner Or Later
6. Warm Fuzzy Feeling
7. Slow Drag
8. G.O.D. (Good Old Days)
9. Charlie, The Methadone Man
10. Out Of My Head
11. Damaged Goods
12. Nowhere Road
13. Sweetwater, Texas

Bonus Tracks:

14. Quit Your Job
15. Freeloader Freddie
16. The Way (Cassette Demo)*
17. Fire Escape (Demo)*
18. Slow Drag (Demo)*
19. Sweetwater, Texas (Demo)*
20. Androgynous
21. This Guy’s In Love With You
22. The Way (Unpaved Acoustic Version) 
* previously unissued

Monday, July 16, 2018

Chris Isaak concert review: Riverside, Calif.

photo: Andrew Macpherson
Just over a week ago, Matt Nathanson, the Massachusetts pop/rock musician best known for Adult Contemporary hits like “Faster” and “Come on Get Higher,” tweeted “For anyone keeping score out there, ‘Wicked Game’ by Chris Isaak is the same three chords over and over again and it is genius and never gets boring.”

Indeed. Isaak’s signature song, which reached the top 10 in 1991 (not to mention half a dozen other countries), is usually enrapturing live. Unlike other artists who save their biggest hits until the end, Isaak typically places it in the first third of the set, sending female fans into an early frenzy.

Both were true during the artist’s first appearance at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, Calif. Clocking in at just under two hours, the stellar concert included crowd-pleasing tributes to Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison – all covered on 2011’s Beyond the Sun album - a few deep album cuts, synchronized stage moves, audience interaction and plenty of good-natured humor.

Sharply dressed as always, Isaak and longtime backing band Silvertone opened with the sprightly pop of “American Boy,” the theme song to the singer/actor’s early 2000s Showtime sitcom “The Chris Isaak Show.” The haunting “You Owe Me Some Kind of Love” was followed by a terrific “Somebody’s Crying,” which drew loud cheers.

During band introductions, Isaak pointed out that drummer/backing vocalist Kenney Dale Johnson had relatives in the audience and then went out into the orchestra and mezzanine sections to sing the night’s first Presley recording “Doin’ the Best I Can” and then “We’ve Got Tomorrow.”

Isaak gave the aptly-titled “Big Wide Wonderful World” an effusive vocal delivery and it was the first of several standouts. Lead guitarist Hershel Yatovitz and bassist Rowland Salley worked both sides of the stage with Isaak and hoisted their guitars in unison from time to time.

Toward the end of the Cash-popularized “Ring of Fire,” Isaak did an amusing bit with Salley where it took several attempts to lure Salley back to his normal position on stage.

For the acoustic-based segment, Isaak admitted that romantic songs were his forte and invited a woman onstage to serenade during “Two Hearts.” Initially hands-on-face embarrassed, she eventually got into being the center of attention. The singer had no problem hitting the high falsetto notes either. The same could be said about a gorgeous “Let Me Down Easy.” 

Scott Plunkett added fine accordion work to “Livin’ for Your Lover,” off the 1985 self-titled debut album. Isaak recalled how it was a part of "Rate-A-Record" on Dick Clark’s old “American Bandstand” TV show and how the punk guy chosen to give his opinion said people couldn’t dance to it. These musicians proved otherwise.

After a man shouted for Isaak to “play some Elvis” (Really? That was unnecessary), he wondered whether the demand referred to Presley or Costello and offered get well wishes for the latter artist, who just announced a recent cancer diagnosis. Focusing on Presley, the guys did “When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again” and a perfectly sublime “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

"Blue Hotel" really upped the drama quotient and main set closer “Notice the Ring” bore a percussion style vaguely reminiscent of late ‘60s Santana - a nice change of pace. Come encore time, Isaak changed into his trademark mirrored suit for the slinky blues of “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing.”

Asking three female fans onstage to dance during the song resulted in their expected overzealousness. I really thought a roadie would have to intervene. Finally, it was back to some shimmering mellowness for “Can’t Do a Thing to Stop Me.”

Friday, July 13, 2018

A yacht rock bonanza: Robbie Dupree, Stephen Bishop reissued on CD; Greg Prato's new book

Here in Southern California, yacht rock enthusiasts have been excited by the prospect of seeing three of the music style’s prominent figures – Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins and Christopher Cross – perform together at the Hollywood Bowl today and Saturday.

This past spring, several new entertainment media titles related to yacht rock – which basically encompasses mid-1970s to early 1980s jazz and R&B-influenced soft rock - came out.

Blixa Sounds, a new Los Angeles based record label, just reissued Stephen Bishop’s third LP Red Cab to Manhattan (1980), as well as Robbie Dupree’s eponymous debut (1980) and its follow-up Street Corner Heroes (1981).

Meanwhile, The Yacht Rock Book: The Oral History of the Soft, Smooth, Sounds of the 70s and 80s, by Greg Prato, examines the style’s popularity and impact through multiple interviews. And SiriusXM is still offering its yacht rock channel to subscribers.

Stephen Bishop, a San Diego native, first got a leg up in the music business when a pair of tunes he wrote were recorded by Art Garfunkel for the hit 1975 LP Breakaway. Then Barbra Streisand also recorded a Bishop song. His own success as a solo recording artist began in ‘77 with “Save it for a Rainy Day” and “On and On,” both of which went top 10 on the Adult Contemporary charts and were top 20 pop hits. “Everybody Needs Love” drew similar radio play.
After he signed to Warner Bros. Records for Red Cab to Manhattan, the label apparently didn’t do much to promote the album and it unfortunately faded quickly. Soon after, the artist landed an AC chart topper in “It Might Be You,” appeared on a bunch of soundtracks, did more film cameos, had songs recorded by Kenny Loggins, Eric Clapton, David Crosby, Phil Collins, Steve Perry and many more.

Now, nearly 40 years later, the great new version of Red Cab to Manhattan has been digitally re-mastered from the original tapes, with previously unreleased bonus tracks, the original cover artwork and high-quality gatefold CD packaging. 

Garfunkel, Clapton, Collins, Phoebe Snow, Willie Weeks, Steve Gadd, Hugh McCracken and Lenny Castro were among the guests, while mixer Scott Litt (who’d go onto fame helming R.E.M. albums), Grammy winning producer Tommy LiPuma, engineers Renate (Elton John) and Jason Corsaro (Paul Simon, Madonna) handled the sound. The result is an album that doesn’t sound dated compared to similar releases from the era and one that should’ve been a hit back then.

Bishop’s lyrics were partially inspired by his breakup with actress Karen Allen (“Animal House” – which he also had a bit part in, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”). Opening cut “The Big House,” a jaunty “Living in the Land of Abe Lincoln” and the short barroom romp “Sex Kittens Go to College” showcase the artist’s sense of humor. The romantic “Send a Little Love My Way” and mild rocker “Let Her Go” are highlights. Elsewhere, “Little Moon” boasts a nice cascading harmony section and the title track, a nifty Bishop trombone solo.

The half dozen bonus tracks comprise demos, a single version of “Send a Little Love My Way” and a quick cover of “Hit the Road Jack.”

Back when I was in junior high school and dutifully compiled my own listings of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem, I was somewhat infatuated with Robbie Dupree’s breezy pop hit “Steal Away,” which reached the top 10 in 1980.

In Prato’s book, Dupree explains the lyric didn’t mean that much to him; the words just fit nicely with the melody. That song was included on demo that was initially rejected by several record labels. So, the Brooklyn musician returned home. Then, by chance, Dupree’s drummer’s brother passed it along to a record exec and a label deal commenced. 

“Hot Rod Hearts,” another top 20 hit from what became the Robbie Dupree LP, was another slice of upbeat catchy pop about “young love/born in a backseat,” with billowy keyboards. Amazingly, as Dupree also explains in the Prato book, the song was “an afterthought” - a late addition to the album completed in 24 hours because he was being pressured to finish recording immediately. It ended up netting him a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.

The sleek 1980 debut album, digitally re-mastered from the original tapes, is a frequently romantic gem. In addition to the standout singles, the upbeat “I’m No Stranger” and “Nobody Else” contain ample sax and soulful backing vocals. Other highlights include the sprightly “Love is a Mystery,” with lovely guitarwork and the haunting “Lonely Runner.” Notably, the guitars are handled by a young Brian Ray, who’d go onto tour and record with Paul McCartney decades later as well as future Cracker producer Dennis Herring. Intriguingly, the four previously unreleased bonus tracks (the aforementioned hits among them) are sung in Spanish.

On his remastered sophomore album, Street Corner Heroes, from 1981, Dupree slightly expanded his sonic palette with most of the same studio musicians. Although it didn’t match the debut’s success, the results were equally terrific. 

The title track, likely inspired by Dupree’s teenage years singing doo wop on street corners in New York City, gets everything rolling on a spirited note. “Brooklyn Girls,” the single, is effusive with sax flourishes. A fast-paced “All Night Long” is done a capella in doo wop style, while another standout, “I’ll Be the Fool Again,” is akin to Doobie Brothers with prominent keyboards. The R&B-styled “Are You Ready for Love” has a sultry vibe; “Saturday Night” contains an enticing slow build party groove, punchy horns and a harmonica solo. A single edit of the song serves as the lone bonus track.

The Yacht Rock Book, published by Jawbone Press (paperback; 320 pages), examines the genesis of soft rock through interviews with the major players (and others who intersected it), including John Oates, Christopher Cross, Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins, Jim Messina, Rupert Holmes, members of The Eagles, America, Captain & Tennille, Air Supply, Steely Dan, Three Dog Night, Blood Sweat & Tears, Ambrosia, Toto, Chicago, Poco, Earth, Wind & Fire and others.

Following a foreword by actor/musician Fred Armisen (“Saturday Night Live,” “Portlandia”), Prato hits all the relevant bases as the musicians discuss their roots and eventual successes - and bewilderment at the whole yacht rock phenomenon.

There are chapters devoted to Daryl Dragon, who describes his experience touring with the Beach Boys (whose “Sloop John B.” is considered a precursor to yacht rock); one about the Doobies, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Steely Dan; Michael McDonald’s singular influence, Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks; the formula for making soft rock classics; the session musicians who played on many of the hits; Seventies fashion; drugs and partying; one devoted to Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” what Prato amusingly calls “The yacht rock national anthem”; memorable album covers; the genre’s decline and recent resurgence. The most interesting chapters are devoted the background behind classic tunes from the 1970s and early ‘80s. Twenty color and black and white pages of photos help illustrate everything. If you're a fan of any of the above artists, I'd highly recommend picking up this book.